Linares outpoints Crolla again in one-sided rematch
WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) retained his title with a dominant points win over Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) in their rematch on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena.
Three-weight world champion Linares dethroned Crolla by unanimous decision in September, but this was even more one-sided.
Linares scored a seventh round knockdown on the way to winning by scores of 118-109 on all three scorecards.
Crolla landed the first meaningful shot of the bout, a left hook to the body in the opening round, as both fighters were cautious early on. Linares also connected with some body shots and he began connecting with some solid punches by the second round.
Linares' speed and power took over the fight in the following rounds as he landed combinations and uppercuts in the third.
The Briton had some success in the fourth and he kept stalking Linares but all the harder shots were coming from the Venezuelan, who cut Crolla above his left eye in the sixth.
Linares was dominating the fight by using good movement to avoid punches thrown at him before going back on the offensive and he floored the hometown fighter in the seventh with a vicious left uppercut.
Crolla beat the count but took more heavy shots before firing back at Linares towards the end of the round.
Crolla remained aggressive and was always moving forward but he was getting busted up with more big blows in the later rounds and his trainer Joe Gallagher appeared ready to call off the fight after the 11th.
However, Crolla did come out for the12th and exchanged blows with Linares but by the final bell there was no doubt who the winner was.
"Anthony Crolla has a lot of heart and that's why he went into the 12th round with me," said Linares.
"I want to fight in the States now and I want the biggest names, the best fighters."
Crolla said: "I got beat by the better fighter. I'm 30 years old, I'm going to rest, but I believe I can come again, rebuild and take it from there. I believe I was better than ever coming into this."
Linares, who also retained his WBC Diamond and Ring magazine belts, is now set for a world title unification fight with WBC champion Mikey Garcia later this year.